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This article was published 2/3/2016 (2312 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Ondrej Pavelec has had his ticket punched to the World Cup of Hockey.
The Winnipeg Jets goaltender was among the first 16 players named to the Czech Republic squad for the international even to be held Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 in Toronto. The Czech Ice Hockey Association's roster announcement included three goalies: Pavelec, along with Petr Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings and Michal Neuvirth of the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I'm excited. It's going to be a great tournament and the best players in the world are going to be playing," said Pavelec after practice Wednesday. "It's great to be a part of it."
Pavelec has a long history representing his country internationally, having worn the Czech Republic's colours at world U-17 and U-18 events, the World Junior Hockey Championships, the 2010 and 2014 Olympics and at four World Hockey Championships, winning gold in 2010 and a bronze in 2011.
"I've never played in a World Cup, but when I spoke to other guys who played in the 2004 World Cup they said it was one of the best tournaments they ever played in and they had been part of the Olympics and World Championships," Pavelec said. "It's high expectations, for sure, and the NHL and NHLPA is involved, so I'm pretty sure it's going to be a great tournament."
Asked if he was surprised to be named to the team, Pavelec grinned and added:
"Nope. I mean, there's three goalies from Czech Republic in the NHL. I've been in two Olympics and four World Championships, but you never know. I knew it before today that I was going to be on the team so I wasn't surprised.
"(Playing for your country) is different. It's usually a short tournament, two weeks... it's always special. Everybody is watching. There's 10 million people in Czech Republic and I'm pretty sure most of them are watching the tournament. It's something special because there are a lot of good Czech players, a lot of good Czech goalies and so it's always something special for me."
Pavelec said his memories from the gold-medal win in 2010 at the Worlds are still vivid.
"It's a few years ago and it's still a great memory," he said. "Those minutes after the final are in my memories, for sure. And when we came back (to the Czech Republic) everyone was so happy."
The Czech roster also includes two of his closest friends: former Jet Michael Frolik, now of the Calgary Flames and Jakub Vorachek of the Philadelphia Flyers.
All eight teams in the event -- Canada, Russia, the United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Team Europe (made of of players from outside the European hockey powers and Team North America (American and Canadian players who are 23 or under by Oct. 1) -- will be announced today.
The Russian, Finnish and Swedish preliminary rosters have already been released and there are no Jets on those lineups. The Jets are not likely to have a player on the Canadian team, but will likely have both Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien on the American side, while Jacob Trouba, Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele are possibilities for Team North America and Nikolaj Ehlers is a long shot for Team Europe.
Each team will have a tournament roster of 23 players (20 skaters and three goaltenders) with the balance of each team's roster to be announced no later than June 1.